Government prepares for the plantation project: 800 Billion Trees to Celebrate HM the Queen’s 80th Birthday August 12, 2012 (7/7/2012)
Today (July 7, 2012) at 09.00, at Santi Maitri building, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, the Prime Minister chaired and received minute of a meeting on a forest and soil preservation and dam building in 10 headwaters provinces plan. Those 10 headwaters provinces included Chiang Mai, Lampoon, Tak, Chiang Rai, Lam Pang, Phayao, Phrae, Sukhothai, Nan, and Uttaradit. Attendants included Mr. Yongyooth Wichaidit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr. Niwatthamrong Boonsomgphaisal, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Plodprasop Surassawadee, Minister of Science and Technology, ML Disnada Dissakul, Secretary-General of Mae Fah Luang Foundation, Commanders in Chief of 3 Royal Thai Armies, Mr. Suranan Vejjajivaj, Secretary-General of the Prime Minister, Ms. Sansanee Nachpong, Government Spokesperson, Governors of 10 headwaters provinces, and executives from involved sectors.
After listening to a briefing report on the minute of the meeting on a forest and soil preservation and dam building in 10 headwaters provinces (Chiang Mai, Lampoon, Tak, Chiang Rai, Lam Pang, Phayao, Phrae, Sukhothai, Nan, and Uttaradit) plan, the Prime Minster expressed her appreciation to the working groups for their contribution to the urgent task needed to be concretely and continuously completed. In this regard, the plan aimed at enhancing the headwaters areas’ storage capacity so the areas can slow down the flow of water from headwaters areas to downstream water ones. The slow was practiced through several projects such as Vetiver grass plantation, and dam building. The Prime Minister requested every sector to finish the project by 2 months.
Concerning a long-term project namely the plantation project, the Prime Minister suggested involved sectors to take HM the King’s initiative as a guideline by emphasizing on stimulating people’s participation, senses of love and belonging towards trees, and common responsibility to protect trees in the community. The Prime Minister would not like to see plantation on the one hand, and deforestation on the other hand.
The Prime Minister ordered involve sector to encourage people’s participation, and prevent forest trespass. For any forest areas that had already been trespassed, the Prime Minister requested involved sector to provide another appropriate area for people instead. Therefore, people would not be affected. She also proposed public hearing and voting for plantation areas in order to create a sense of belonging among people towards trees of the loyalty. In so doing, people would take a good care of those trees forever.
Concerning the plantation project: 800 Billion Trees to Celebrate HM the Queen’s 80th Birthday August 12, 2012, the project was scheduled 5 years (2012-2016 for 800 billion trees). In 2012, the Prime Minister reiterated that 20 million trees would be planted in river basin areas. She also set exact river basin areas for plantation, responsible sectors in each area, and means to take care of trees.
The aforementioned project’s groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled on August 8, 2012 under the name “8th August, 8 o’clock, 80th Birthday of HM the Queen”. The Prime Minister would chair the plantation ceremony at Chiang Mai while Deputy Prime Minister would chair the plantation ceremony in 4 regional areas. The plantation project reflects an acknowledgement towards HM the King’s commitment to preserve forest resources, especially his commitment to encourage a peaceful co-existence between human beings and forest, and Small House in a Big Forest project.
On a separate matter; after listening to a briefing report on the minute of the meeting on a forest and soil preservation and dam building in 10 headwaters provinces (Chiang Mai, Lampoon, Tak, Chiang Rai, Lam Pang, Phayao, Phrae, Sukhothai, Nan, and Uttaradit) plan, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, the Prime Minister mentioned a problem on land subsidence along the Chao Praya river areas during an interview. After receiving a report from Department of Mineral Resources, she revealed the root cause of the problem that soil in those areas absorbs river water. However, it is a normal and natural condition of soil along the river. Therefore, the Prime Minister requested people to be careful and move their houses away from the river for the sake of their own safety since soil in those areas are normally eroded.
To solve the problem, some countries need to build dams along the river banks, and move people away from the river banks. In Thailand, there are no dams along the river banks. Therefore, dams along the river banks need to be built in order to strengthen the banks. However, the main obstacle is budget. Initially, the Prime Minister prioritized main areas where a huge amount of budget is needed. There must be a survey on risky areas. The Prime Minister assigned each governor to conduct a survey on risky areas in each province and talk to local people so the government can help and consider approving financial support. Cooperation from every sector in prohibiting people from locating houses near the river banks, and in surveying soil’s strength is required.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the solution of and how to rebuild confidence in Suvarnabhumi airport’s runway during an interview that this case does not have any impact on confidence. Moreover, the runway is now closed for fixing. Since some areas of the runway are closed, a frequently use of runway in other areas thus lead to the runway subsidence. Initially, the Prime Minister reiterated involved sector to examine the runway for safety. The Prime Minister further stated that it is normal since Suvarnabhumi airport had been used for a long time. The number of flights which are higher than expected, flights frequency, and airplanes’ weights shorten the age of the runway. The Prime Minister insisted that the incident does not affect safety, and she had already emphasized every sector to carefully work on safety issue.